Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite Music of 2013 - Part 2

  1. Javelin, “Hi-Beams” - this upbeat album edged out the excellent "Muchacho" because it is so damn fun and I'm not always in the mood for the often somber tone of Phosphorescent. I'm amazed that this wasn't on more lists this year. 
  2. Phosphorescent, “Muchacho” - easily could be number one as well - a exceptional album with a complex variety of instrumentation, big choral introductions, and jangly choruses
  3. Kurt Vile, “Waking on a Pretty Daze” - he played an awesome set at the Bluebird earlier this year - nice laid back rock album
  4. William Onyeabor, “Who is William Onyeabor?” - a re-issue of 1970s/80s Nigerian electronic music - infectiously energetic -basically functioned as the soundtrack for our December road trip
  5. M. Sage – numerous cassette releases from the prolific Ft. Collins based ambient arranger
  6. Monster Rally, “Return to Paradise” - a highly recommended beat album full of chill tropical/lounge samples - the kind of thing you can put on during most any event and play it all the way through
  7. Willow Beats, “Alchemy” -five organic/robotic glitched out electronic songs make for an excellent ep
  8. Jai Paul – demos - not an official release, but it still managed to make it onto tons of lists at the end of the year because these chill dubstep influenced pop gems are so good
  9. Black Swan, “Redemption” - not something I play every day, but as far as very dark drone/ambient compositions go Black Swan is one of the best
  10. Forest Swords, “Engravings” - strange broken up spare beats and samples - very dark
  11. Polica, “Shulamith” - great synth pop - vocalist is awesome
  12. Dirty Beaches, “Drifters/Love is the Devil” - a smokey double-album with a lot of tension and mystery - something I think I'll be listening to a lot more in the winter months
  13. Deerhunter, “Monomania” - they played a loud, noisey set at the Bluebird this year and I really enjoyed it - this album is more of a noise-rock album than their previous releases that tend to have more atmospherics
  14. Julianna Barwick, “Nepenthe” - beautiful choral compositions
  15. Shipmate, “Mint”, “Static” -humble 4/4 lo-fi autotuned RnB from Ft. Collins- both albums are a free download

Worth Mentioning:

  • No Joy, “Wait to Pleasure” - nice shoegaze album I need to sink my teeth into
  • Vampire Weekend, “Modern Vampires” - supposed to be a great album but I really haven't listened to it enough
  • The Knife, “Shaking the Habitual” - sometimes hard to listen to, but other times it is exceptionally creative
  • Arcade Fire, “Reflector” - a bit on the fence about it - "Reflector" made a big first impression but that has tarnished a little upon further listens...still a not-as-good Arcade Fire album is superior to most other artists better ones
  • Invasions, “Invasions” - western-tinged surf! need to listen to it more, but I've enjoyed it quite a bit on initial listens
  • Califone, “Stitches” - probably should be on the list above - solid quiet acoustic/rock album
  • Midlake, "Antiphon"

I know I forgot some great albums... There are numerous other instrumental albums/tapes that I listed previously as part of my Favorite Ambient Cassettes of 2013 (see below)

Memorable Films:
I didn't see many this year, but these few stood out: 
  • Act of Killing (very heavy but powerful)
  • Gravity
  • The Great Beauty
  • Anchorman 2 (could do without about an hour in the middle of this over-long movie but the beginning and end were fun, even if they were mostly reworkings of the first movie)

2013 Concerts
  • Califone living room show
  • Lake Mary @ Groundswell Gallery
  • Julianna Barwick @ Leon Gallery
  • Destroyer @ the Larimer Lounge
  • Deerhunter @ the Bluebird
  • Kurt Vile @ the Bluebird
  • Noveller @ Goldrush Festival
  • Midlake @ the Larimer Lounge
  • Robert Plant/Black Angels @ Red Rocks
  • Heinavanker @ St. John’s Cathedral

Favorites from my previous lists:
2012: Sharon Van Etten
2011: The War on Drugs
2010: Beach House
2009: Bill Callahan
2008: The Walkmen

Favorites from 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 , and 2008.

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